Vote for YMCA Birmingham stars in prestigious national youth awards

Via Victoria Bishop for YMCA Birmingham

Two YMCA Birmingham stand-out stars make finals of prestigious national youth awards

YMCA Birmingham is asking local people to vote for its inspiring team after two young staff members have reached the shortlist for a prestigious national youth ceremony, Youth Matters Awards 2015. Alongside this remarkable commendation, the organisation itself has also been recognised and shortlisted for YMCA of the year award.
YMCA Birmingham Photo via

The young people’s charity, which has operated in the city for the last 166 years – with accommodation facilities in Erdington, Aston, Northfield and the Jewellery Quarter – put YMCA worker, Tom Truman forward for the title of Young Worker of the Year, with volunteer Gabrielle Roachford winning a place in the Young Leader of the Year category.

Youth Matters is the YMCA federation’s national awards programme that has been an integral part of the charity’s calendar since 2009.

Both Service User Involvement Officer, Tom Truman, and resident Gabrielle are up against four other inspirational young workers in each of their categories. Other titles include YMCA of the Year, Young Achiever of the Year and Young Volunteer of the Year.

Gabrielle Roachford photo via

Gabrielle, 22, a resident at The Orchard project in Erdington since March 2014, impressed the judging panel thanks to her extensive work as part of the Erdington Young People’s Parliament. She previously joined Labour MP Jack Dromey on a trip to Westminster to push youth issues on behalf of her community, and was also selected as a resident representative by her peers and staff because of her excellent listening and communication skills.

Other notable achievements include volunteering at Birmingham Magistrates Court and in Erdington’s Labour office as well as taking an active part in other YMCA Birmingham events such as a Zumba party for the Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign and YMCA England’s Manifesto.

Tom Truman photo via

24 year old Tom, is the man behind YMCA Birmingham’s busy timetable of training, educational seminars and skills learning sessions, having forged a range of relationships with organisations from Birmingham – giving residents the opportunity to improve everything from their cooking knowledge, money management skills, to CV workshops, to Maths and English training and a ‘guns and gangs’ workshop with the police. Tom was also pivotal in arranging this year’s Erdington Hustings events at YMCA Birmingham, promoting an opportunity for young people to have a voice in political matters.

Voting for the awards starts online on Monday 3 August and runs until midnight on Friday 14 August. Votes cast by the public will be combined with judges’ choices and the top three nominees will be announced on 4 September. Overall winners will be given their awards at the prestigious ceremony at the Porchester Hall, in Bayswater, central London, on Thursday 22 October.

Tom said: “Reaching the finals is an amazing achievement. Working for YMCA Birmingham doesn’t feel like a job because it’s all about inspiring young people and when I see the changes in them it spurs me on to organise more. I love what I do and love seeing people helped by the YMCA.”

Gabrielle, who was made homeless through redundancy before moving into YMCA accommodation, says: “My life has changed so much since getting involved with YMCA Birmingham and I hope everyone will support me and vote. To make it through to the final judging round would be incredible.”

Alan Fraser CEO of YMCA Birmingham is right behind the two finalists: “We are all so proud of Tom and Gabrielle who shine bright as people committed to our vision of helping young people fulfil their potential.

“Gabrielle has developed into a fantastic, capable young leader and is now well on the way to securing work. Tom daily goes above and beyond to make himself available for every person with whom we work and is always thinking of creative and innovative ways to engage them.

Throw into the mix that he also ran the London Marathon for YMCA Birmingham this year, and it is easy to find evidence of his commitment and passion for young people and the YMCA cause.”

MP for Erdington, Birmingham, Jack Dromney, Left with
MP for Erdington, Birmingham, Jack Dromey, Left with Gabrielle Roachford and Tom Truman.

Adding his praise to the finalists is Erdington MP Jack Dromey who is a regular supporter of the charity’s work in North Birmingham. He says: “Tom and Gabrielle are outstanding examples of all that is good in wanting the best for young people. They truly deserve to be recognised for the real difference they have made.”

Youth Matters celebrates the outstanding skills and achievements of young people from across the country. It also recognises the vital work that YMCAs deliver every day to help transform the lives of young people and give them a brighter future.

The Young Worker of the Year Award recognises a young worker (aged under 30-years-old) for their outstanding commitment to building a brighter future for young people and for going the extra mile to make a real difference to their lives.

Vote for Tom for Young Worker of the Year, Gabrielle for Young Leader of the Year and Birmingham YMCA for YMCA of the Year at

For more information on the Youth Matters Awards 2015, visit or follow the latest updates on Twitter at

About Youth Matters Awards

The concept of honouring the exceptional work and practice of YMCAs across England was born in 2009, with the event developing into the Youth Matters it is today in 2015.

The categories for this year’s Youth Matters Awards are:

Young Worker of the Year Award

Young Achiever of the Year Award

YMCA of the Year Award

Volunteer of the Year Award

Outstanding Contribution Award

About YMCA

Founded in 1844, YMCA in England is made up of 114 member YMCAs working to ensure that young people have opportunities to thrive and contribute positively to their communities.

YMCA operates in over 530 different communities in England impacting upon the lives of over 600,000 people every year.

YMCAs provide almost 10,000 beds for young people every night. YMCA is the largest voluntary sector provider of safe, supported accommodation for young men and women.

YMCA enables nearly 43,000 people every year to engage in education, skills and training to enable them to improve their opportunities in the job market.

YMCA is the largest voluntary sector provider of health and wellbeing services promoting physical activity.

For further information please visit